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Friday, May 22, 2009

Long Lost Brother Found! ...Living Across the Street

(CNN) -- For years, Candace Eloph searched for her half-brother, who was given up for adoption in 1977. She found him -- living across the street.

"I never thought it would happen like this. Never. Ever," Eloph of Shreveport, Louisiana, told CNN television affiliate KTBS.

Three decades ago, Eloph's mother gave birth to a boy at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. She was 16 and gave him up for adoption.

"They took him from me," said Eloph's mother, Joellen Cottrell. "I only got to hold him for a split second."

Cottrell searched for her son over the years, without success.

She eventually left Louisiana and had other children. But she did not keep her son a secret.

"My girls always knew they had a brother," she told KTBS. "I always told them. They knew it from the very beginning. And I've always looked for him."

Fast forward three decades.

Eloph moved into a house in Shreveport. Across the street lived a 32-year-old man named Jamie Wheat.

"We were sitting one day, talking, and she said, 'You know what? I had a brother born January 27, 1977, that was adopted,'" Wheat said. "I was like, I'm adopted."

Surprised, Eloph mentioned that her mother was 16 at the time. His mother was 16, too, Wheat replied.

All the details fit, and Cottrell and Wheat decided to take a DNA test.

The results: There's a 99.995 percent probability that the two are related. Video Watch family open DNA results for first time »

Wheat's adoptive parents are excited about this new stage in their son's life.

"It just almost knocked me out for the joy," Wheat's adoptive mother, Ann, told KTBS.

Added his adoptive father, Ted Wheat: "It was just surprising that they lived across the street from us for two-and-a-half years. When they told us, we said, 'This is the greatest news it could be.'"

Reunited with his birth mother, Jamie Wheat plans to make up for lost time.

"I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me," he said. "I can move forward. Like a new beginning."